Robins are the harbingers of spring for some, but here in Oregon, our seasonal messengers are bigger, grayer and wetter.

Spring is marked by the great gray whale migration, when approximately 19,000 of these magnificent mammals make their way past the Oregon Coast on a 12,000-mile journey from Baja, Mexico, to the their summer feeding grounds in the Bering Sea.

The annual spring Whale Watching Week, sponsored by Oregon State Parks & Recreation Dept. and part of its Whale Watching Spoken Here program, takes place March 21-28. It’s the perfect time to learn about these large sea creatures, which can be 40 to 50 feet long (12.2-15.2 meters) and weigh as much as 40 tons (36,287 kilograms).

During Whale Watching Week, trained volunteers are on hand at 24 locations to answer questions and help you find the best whale watching spots. Keep your eyes peeled for 15-foot whale babies, born over the winter, swimming north with their mothers.

Visit the Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay or the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport to learn about gray whales and their habits. You can also book a whale watching tour with one of the coast’s charter companies. For more information about the bi-annual Whale Watching Week, or to find whale watching spots along the Oregon Coast, download this map (pdf) or check out the map on the right.

Editor’s Tip: For a great coastal hike with majestic views of migrating gray whales, check out the Cape Lookout Whale Hike.

about author Eileen Garvin

Eileen Garvin lives and writes in Hood River. When she’s not hunched over her keyboard or digging in the garden, you can find her mountain biking, kiteboarding, hiking, skiing or camping somewhere in Oregon.

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These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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